“The nature of this tournament is not about winning and deciding who the champion is, but it’s focused on the development of young players across the Region, including Guyana. The structure of the tournament is set to facilitate that,” stated Bryan Joseph, Head Coach of the national U-14 team that departed for Curaçao last Wednesday to participate in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) 2018 Boys’ U-14 Challenge Series.The full squad and technical team in CuraçaoThe young squad, which comprise 17 Guyanese players and four officials, were placed in Group C of the tournament and will face Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and Trinidad and Tobago.Their first matchup will be against the twin-island republic today at the Ergilio Hato Stadium from 16:00h. Their schedule includes their second, third and fourth matches on August 8, 10 and 12 against Curaçao, Bonaire, and Aruba respectively. Every match will be hosted at the same venue, the Ergilio Hato Stadium.Head Coach Joseph is of the belief that this competition is important in many aspects. Noting that most of the boys have only played at home, he said, it is crucial for them to be exposed to unfamiliar conditions. Additionally, the seasoning of experience is imperative since many of the team will make up next year’s Under-15 squad.“Our target is to go out there and be competitive, but, in the same vein, we want to ensure that development takes place. This group needs the experience. I don’t think any member from this group ever played outside of Guyana, at the front of a huge crowd or packed stadium, so this tournament will seek to have them become acquainted with that. This group will be the core of our U-15 who will participate in the CONCACAF U-15 Championship in 2019, so this is the beginning of this process,” the Head Coach stated.Joseph said that while preparations were not as thorough as those of the youth team last year, he was of the view that “Guyana is in a fairly good place because of the work done at the [Guyana Football Federation] GFF-Scotiabank Academy Training Centres. Additionally, we have done some work with this group last year as part of the U-13 preparation. Following the first encampment period, we had a few training days and practice matches so the group came together nicely.”Meanwhile, GFF Technical Director Ian Greenwood said this tournament would serve as part of the development process for the 2026 World Cup Campaign. “The U-14 boys’ group participating in their first international tournament is part of the key performance indicators of the strategy for the 2026 campaign. Gaining international experience and exposure at an early age is vital towards this. The ATC programme is the conveyor belt to produce elite performers for the senior teams on a consistent basis. The players in the squad have been developed through this landmark system; through the ATCs, they have a greater level of game understanding than previous youth squads.”The full squad includes: Mark Morgan, Tyquan Brummell, Kevin Mullin, Keishawn Smith, Brandon Solomon, Oswin Archer, Shoran James, Kevon Scott, Colin Henriques, Ofancy Winter, Tyrice Dennis, Devon Padmore, Samuel Garnett, Daniel Lowe, Rajan Ramdeholl, Shavid Hernandez and Gerald Whittington.Technical team: Bryan Joseph (Head Coach); Devnon Winter (Assistant Coach); Sasha Gouveia (Team Manager) and Nico Alstrom (Doctor).